The Case Of Dr. Mudd

Kind Hearted Doctor or Assassination Accomplice?


Samuel Alexander Mudd I, M.D. was an American physician who was convicted and imprisoned for aiding and conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the 1865 assassination of U. S. President Abraham Lincoln. He was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and released from prison four years later. But he never overcame the stigma of having been suspected of the assassination of the President.

Dr. Mudd lived a quiet life on a farm and was considered to be a gentle man by people who knew him. His story was that on the night that Lincoln was killed, strangers came to his farmhouse and needed his aid. One of the men was John Wilkes Booth who was a radical against the President. Booth had a broken leg and Dr. Mudd gave him aide for his leg and helped him unbeknowst to him that Booth had just killed Lincoln and broke his leg when he jumped from the theatre, according to Mudd.

Dr. Mudd had many supporters but he was still convicted of conspiring with a criminal and he was sent to prison for four years. The main reason that he was found guilty was because Dr. Mudd's story changed a few times. He had said to police that he never saw John Wilkes Booth before that night, however he was seen several times together with John Wilkes Booth in town.

Years later after his release from prison, he was given a pardon by the President for having anything to do with the assassination of Lincoln. However he never quite overcame the infamous reputation and many people believe that the saying "his name is mud", refers to Dr. Mudd or originated from his story.

The Conspirators


There were several people involved with the conspiracy to kill President Lincoln. I had no idea how many people there were but they were all radicals that didn't agree with Lincoln's politics, especially the ones concerning the abolishment of slavery. Here is a list of the people who were found guilty of this infamous crime.

Samuel Arnold-sentenced to life

George Atzerod-sentenced to hang

David Herod-sentenced to hang

Dr. Samuel Mudd- sentenced to life

Michael O'Laughten-sentenced to life

Lewis Powell-sentenced to hang

Edman Spangler-sentenced to 6 years

John Surratt- escaped to Canada

Mary Surratt- sentenced to hang

Mary Surrat

Mary Surrat was the owner of a boardinghouse where much of the planning of the conspircy took place. Her son, John, was a Confederate courier and spy, who became friendly with John Wilkes Booth, a celebrated stage actor. Another embittered Confederate, Booth was obsessed with taking revenge on the Union victory. Mary was convicted of conspiracy and everyone expected that she would get a life sentence because the United States had never executed a women before her. Mary was very sure that she would get pardoned up until the very end because surely the government would not put a woman to death right? Wrong, she was the first woman to be executed in the United States. What a way to go down in history.

The Assassins Execution

The execution of these four conspirators took place at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary (now Fort Leslie McNair) on July 7, 1865. The four conspirators had only been notified of their execution the day before and the scaffold had to be built in less than 24 hours. General John F. Hartranft was in charge of their confinement at Old Arsenal Prison during the seven week trial and now presided over their execution. Guards brought the condemned prisoners from confinement at a little after 1:00 p.m. and the entire event was completed in less than a half-hour. Mrs. Surratt had to be supported during the walk to the gallows.

President Lincoln may have been psychic

On the day of his assassination, April 14, 1865, he was so troubled by a dream that he discussed just a week before he was shot. In his dream, Lincoln awoke, and walked through the silent White House, following the sound of sobbing. When he came to the East Room he saw a coffin that was draped in black, he asked who it was and the military guard replied that it was the President.

John Wilkes Booth Quote- "Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment

His name is still Mudd

This is the farm where Samuel Mudd lived and now it is a museum in Waldorf, MD. From what I understand it is only $5.00 to get in and when you go you may be treated to some war memoralbilia.

The Address is:

3725 Dr. Samuel Mudd Road,

Waldorf, MD 20601.

The phone number is 301-274-9358. Museum phone number is 301-645-6870.

At various time during the year special exhibits are shown in the kitchen. Past exhibits have been President Abraham Lincoln Pictures, Women's Clothing of the Period, and Antique Phonographs. Civil War encampments have been held on the grounds

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Comments 30 comments

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

A very informative and interesting hub. I have read about the conspiracy in the past but have never remembered all of the detail as you have written.

You did an awesome job on the research. I enjoyed this very much. Abraham Lincoln has always been one of my favorite President's.

Great Job,


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Sage thanks I appreciate your comments. I have always been interested in this conspiracy and there was so much detail and planning in it. Thanks again.

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Not the light reading I thought it was but highly captivating, ladyjane! I am always fascinated by mysteries and this was a great recapturing of Dr. Mudd. The first I have ever heard of him, to be honest! Good job!

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Fascinating hub. Actually, this is the first I heard of Dr. Mudd.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

This is so interesting for us non-natives, Angel Face that I for one want to learn more. I hope you will accommodate us... :-)

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I had heard a little about Mudd. Your hub is fascinating!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ann hello thanks for reading Im glad you found it interesting. Thanks for visiting.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

breakfastpop thanks for your comments, you would be surprised how many people have not heard of dr. mudd but I guess his name was just overshadowed through the years. I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Thanks.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

De Greek appreciate your comments. I first heard of Dr. Mudd in high school and his story fascinated me. I researched him quite a bit and saw a really cool documentary on the Biography channel and also saw a movie about Dr. Mudd played by the actor Dennis Weaver ages ago. I have always been interested in conspiracies of course this one was a doozie. There were many people that thought he was guilty and many that supported him. The movie made him look innocent but when you read more about him he seems kind of shady at best. Im glad you found it interesting. You could probably go to and read more. Thanks again.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

habee thank you appreciate you reading.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

What an interesting piece of history that I had never heard before. Great hub.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you Pamela I am surprised at the amount of people that I talk to that have never known about Dr. Mudd. Im glad that it interested you. Thanks

Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico

It's interesting how Lincoln's assassination has always been oversimplified. It was just a few years ago that learned about the co-conspirators, and just TODAY that I learned about Dr. Mudd. Fascinating stuff!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Lee thank you for reading and Im glad that you found it fascinating. I guess they only concentrate on the actual event and when people start digging do they find the details. Blessings to you.

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

A very interesting read, well done.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

jayjay40 thanks it is appreciated.

MFB III profile image

MFB III 6 years ago from United States

I just read a book on Lincolns asassination and felt sorry for Doctor mudd, who as a physician owas called to and obligated to help any person in need, but sadly he tried to cover up the facts after he realized who he had patched up and what booth had done to get injured. It was a tough call, and perhaps four years taught him that healing combined with honesty is the best medicine. Superb write.~~~


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

MFB thanks for reading this. I have always been fascinated by this conspiracy and of course of Dr. Mudd I think he was indeed innocent as well. At least he didn't hang and got to see his family again. Cheers.

mquee profile image

mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

Very good information, it's obvious you did your research. I hate it when people get their facts skewed. I have heard and read about Dr. Mudd and I have always been convinced that he was innocent. I love history, so this was a nice treat.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

mquee thank you for your kind comments. I love History too and I remember hearing about this story in High School from a very interesting teacher and the story stuck because I felt sorry for Mr. Mudd as well. Thanks again and Cheers.

formerbronxboy profile image

formerbronxboy 6 years ago from NOT THE BRONX

lady, There is another theory you haven't included.

Mrs. Lincoln was addicted to opium, her supplier was John Wilkes Booth. Mrs. Lincoln conspired with Booth because the President was going to put him in jail. Booth came into the booth the Lincoln's were in, and Mary Lincoln shot the President in the head from very close range.

Booth knowing he would be blamed, jumped from the balcony and ran out, as he was shot. You covered the rest.

I will try to follow you but I am having trouble doing that. When I attempt to follow, I am asked for my verification code. What the hell is that?

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

formerbronxboy thanks for reading and I have never heard of this theory but Mrs. Lincoln. From what I know that is written about her she seemed like she loved her husband very much and was always afraid someone would kill him so its hard to beleive that she would actually have anything to do with his death. I don't know why you cannot follow but I can try to add you. Thanks for your comments. Cheers.

formerbronxboy profile image

formerbronxboy 6 years ago from NOT THE BRONX

lady, Thanks for the follow. I got that story searching Google a long time ago. Here is a link to books on it.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

formerbronxboy thanks for the info I will have to check that out. Cheers.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

A very interesting subject and well delivered by you as always. It's interesting that the government can find little or no real evidence of a conspiracy in the Kennedy assasination but in that of Lincoln, there seems to be a busload of folks. It would appear to me that the Lincoln assassination would have been much easier to pull off by one person than that of Kennedy. On the other hand, those involved with killing Kennedy very well understood the need to create chaos while carrying out their sinister plot. In chaos there is order, if you know what is going on. Thanks for a really good hub, LJ! WB

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Wayne thanks for reading my hub on Dr. Mudd. I read about him in High School and his story has always fascinated me, as well as the assassination of Kennedy, which many conspiracy theorist have said have many things in common. It still astonishes me that Booth actually thought he was doing his party a favor by killing Lincoln and thought that the act would make him a hero in history, he got the history part right but he is far from being a hero. Thanks again for reading. Cheers.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Hey LadyJane! I really needed a refresher course. I've read some before and watched a documentary but I forget. This is really great. I am curious about the statement about her being the "first woman to be executed in the United States". That must be in a specific way of execution maybe? I think Frankie Silver has that distinction. She supposedly killed her husband Charlie Silver. This occurred in 1838 or so near Bakersville, NC. Frankie Silver was the first woman hanged in the US. That the claim to fame in Mitchell County, NC. I used to ride my bike where this occurred. It's all a twisted tale and the origin of several books. There's a lot of history that isn't so though. Maybe we can show more light on this? Thank you Ma'am.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Micky you are as sharp as a tack. I should have written that Mary Surratt was the first women in the United States to be executed under a Federal jurisdiction being the military execution. Thanks for clarifying that for me and thanks for reading appreciate ya. cheers.

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

Fascinating article, well written and wonderfully detailed. It's interesting that Dr. Mudd was given a pardon years down the road.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

KoffeeKlatch Gal thanks for reading. I find that interesting as well but I believe it was his ancestors that really pushed it because they wanted to see him pardoned and his name cleared. I honestly believe that Dr. Mudd was a decent man who helped someone out and then tried to cover it up when he realized who it was because he knew it would get him into trouble and not because he was part of the conspiracy but that made him look guilty in the eyes of the jurors unfortunately. Thanks again for reading and CHeers to you.

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